Brittle nails, hair loss, thinning eyebrows, or dry skin might be indications of undiagnosed thyroid problems.

Cold weather seems to put a lot of stress on fingers and thumbs. For some reason, splits and cracks in the skin near the fingernail seem to be far more common at this time of year. What can you do to ease the pain of your cracked fingertips?

Helping Your Cracked Fingertips Heal:

Q. The other day I had a big split at the tip of my thumb. I was visiting a friend, and we went to the drug store. I happened to see a box of something called finger cots. They are basically disposable gloves for individual fingers.

She had a healing ointment, so I put that on with a finger cot and happily finished my Christmas shopping. A few hours later the cracked fingertip was almost healed. I repeated the process the next day, and the split was gone.

Other Approaches to Healing Your Cracked Fingertips:

A. Thanks for the tip. A nurse once told us that frequent hand washing in the hospital led to painful cracks on her thumbs and fingertips. She paints the cracks with two or three layers of clear nail polish to seal and protect them while they heal.

Other readers recommend instant glue or some type of liquid bandage. One woman was allergic to latex and could not wear finger cots or rubber gloves. She said that the glue “stops the pain, protects the cracks from germs and heals them, usually within three days.”

Using a moisturizer at this time of year is also helpful. We recommend one with 20 percent urea, such as Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 Cream, to speed healing.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Jack

    I experienced cracks on both hands for over 40 years and tried many treatments including prescription creams. A few years ago I heard a Naturopathic Physician suggest taking Zinc capsules. I tried it, and have been symptom free ever since.

  2. Bob F

    Zinc Oxide/Desitin cream is worth a try. Also oral Vit D3, 2-10,000 IU and B12 sublinqual 1000mcg for a few days are worth a try.

  3. Krista
    Roanoke, Virginia

    I have encountered periods of time when my fingertips would be cracked and sore at the corners of the nails. I figures out that certain brands of liquid handsoap have an ingredient that causes the problem. I can use Softsoap but not Dial. Also there was a brand used in dispensers where I worked that did it. Luckily I was Facilities Manager and could change the brand, which immediately ended the problem.

  4. Pat

    Massage “Healthy Hoof” cream on and under the fingernails and fingertips every night at bedtime. You will get good results after just a few applications. This product is readily available online.

  5. Chris

    A drug addict and seller hit my car head-on and broke both of my hands. That has caused a major hand problem. When the hands are so dry that the cuticles cover the nails, the rest of the skin dries so much that the fingers and palms hurt all day. My dermatologist recommended Aquaphor — it works incredibly wonderful to calm and strengthen all of the hands except the cuticles. She also recommended CeraVe. I use the new CeraVe Healing Ointment on the cuticles and it works better than everything I have tried for several years.

  6. Marji

    I don’t have split finger tips in the winter but both my sisters and a friend do. After using Udderly Smooth Extra Care cream (its 20% urea is key) to help heal and relieve the pain of minor burns, I suggested it to them for the split skin. It worked like a charm for each of them! I strongly recommend trying it. Urea, a naturally occurring healing substance in the body, is the critical ingredient in the cream.

  7. Dr. Judith
    Kfar Saba, Israel

    Break off a piece of aloe vera and put the juice of it on your crack. You can use the same piece of aloe vera several times. It is very effective.

  8. Ellen

    I stay away from soap that has sodium laurel sulfate in them. I carry my own soap with me. When my cuticles are hurting and splitting I put neosporin on them and then wear gloves to bed.

  9. Carol

    I get cracked skin on the side tip of my thumbs every winter. I’ve been using an “age old” remedy that my father told me about years ago. Ichthammol ointment. It’s a dark oily drawing salve which can be used for many skin problems. (I believe it’s made from fish oil). At night I apply the ichthammol ointment and then cover it with a bandaid. In the morning my thumbs are better and the pain is gone. If you can’t find it, ask your pharmacist to order it for you. PS I discovered that there is a veterinary form of ichthammol.

  10. eric

    I have wonderful results using a product called Zim’s Crack Cream

  11. Marie

    I live in the arid southwestern desert where our humidity is low year-round, but with indoor heating, my skin gets so dry in the winter that it actually hurts. I had tried everything, including O’Keefe’s Working Hands, Cornhuskers Lotion, Bag Balm, honey, and all the other things that other people suggest, but my thumbs and fingertips still cracked.

    Finally, I tried A & D Ointment – yes, the same ointment used on baby’s bottoms – and it works! My cracked thumb on my right hand, that normally remains split most of the winter, finally healed. And the best part is that I don’t have to use it every day. I only use it every few days. Another benefit is that it is not expensive. Since I don’t use it every day, my first large tube lasted about a year and a half. It is certainly less expensive than O’Keefe’s. Yes, I know A & D Ointment has a base of cod liver oil. Yes, it’s oily, but I leave it on about five minutes and then wipe off what little remains, but most of it has absorbed by then. It also works on the calves of my legs where the skin usually turns chalk white from the dry, peeling skin layers. It’s the best thing I have tried.

  12. Paul

    O’Keeffe’s Working Hands hand cream, available at Home Depot works well for healing dry hands that cracks and split.

  13. Jean
    Roanoke, VA

    The minute the weather turns cold, heat comes on in house and the fingers develop cracks. The dry heat in house and maybe washing hands more help cause it. Within in a day in a tropical climate, the cracks go away. Since that isn’t happening, here is my solutions. If they are really bad, take a narrow piece of tape used for bandages. Pull the edges of the split together and leave tape on with a bandaid or two covering it. Try not to get hands wet while the tape is on. At night, use cream, petroleum jelly or neosporin and sleep in cotton gloves.

  14. Karin

    I suffered with cracked fingertips, hands and feet for years. There is a product called Porter’s Lotion (Original or Sweet) that totally takes care of the problem. It can be found online at the Porter’s Lotion website. If you want to be done with the problem, try this product. Originally formulated for cement factory workers it’s unlike anything else you’ve ever tried.

  15. Mary Jane

    I use Nuskin (liquid bandage) for cracks in the winter. It works.

  16. Maryann
    New York

    Years ago a friend who also had the same problem of winter time finger cracks told me to purchase NU Skin. Looks like nail polish….but very thick. Paint over the crack. Provides immediate relief, protects the sore, and allows it to heal. Nail bitters will find relief if they have bitten to the quick….I am never without this product. Good luck, good heath.

  17. Diane

    I’ve used honey on a bandage and it works wonders because honey is a natural germ killer.

  18. Melody
    Norman, OK

    I used to have deeply cracked heels (not fingertips). I started taking fish oil for general health, and lo and behold, after about a month, the cracks were gone, the skin was completely healed. I must have needed Omega 3s!

  19. Mary
    Madison, WI

    I get many finger splits in the winter and grew tired of them and the painful products like liquid skin. Asking a hair stylist what she used led me to a product called Kiss – a brush on nail glue that is quite effective and does not burn like liquid skin.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.